Locating crappie is the first step in catching crappie. No matter what you use as bait for crappie, be it minnows, jigs or some secret bait of yours, crappie have to be there in order to be caught. I used to get on a lake and fish every brush pile I saw. And I did pretty good with that technique in the summer and fair in the winter. However, when I started using my depth finder / fish finder I started doing a lot better.
The first thing I do when I turn on my depth finder is turn off the fish symbols! I feel that I get a better representation of what's under the boat without have fish symbols on the screen. That's just my opinion. I like to look for structure that is in the middle of nowhere. By that I mean, if you are running along a flat bottom with no structure on it and suddenly see a submerged tree or jumps, you have found a structure that is in the middle of nowhere. When you find this structure, idle the boat back and forth over it to see if it holds fish. The odds are that it will and they will be crappie and bass. Instead of dropping anchor, Drop a set of marker bouys.
I use this method to mark structure I've located on the fish finder. I get my first buoy ready and I start idling the boat towards the structure. As soon as I see it on the depth finder, I drop the first buoy. I keep going in a straight line until I'm well past the structure. Then I make an 180 degree turn and head back for the structure with my second marker buoy ready in hand. I'm usually a little pass the first marker buoy I dropped before before I see the structure on my depth finder again. This is when I drop the second buoy. Since the screen on a depth finder is showing you the history of whats under you, you have already gone pass what you are seeing on the screen if the boat is moving. By dropping the buoys in this way, you can be pretty sure that the structure is between the buoys.
I have done I lot more crappie since I've started using this technique to locate them. I usually pitch tube jigs to them first. When the bite dies down, I'll try swim baits like curly tail grubs and catch a few more crappie. Last but not least, I'll toss a couple of minnows out using a slip bobber rig . Finally I'll pull my buoys and search for the next piece of structure. I hope this helps you in finding and catching more crappie..For more Crappie tips and my blog, visit Catching Crappie . Also, please feel free to join the new crappie Crappie forum and leave tips or ask questions.